ucsf fresno

UCSF Fresno file photo

published on June 28, 2022 - 1:39 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

UCSF Fresno is one of four $1.85 million grant recipients to establish a pipeline of medical school students from California community colleges.

The money will help the local campus of the UCSF School of Medicine establish itself as a Regional Hub of Healthcare Opportunity as part of the California Medicine Scholars Program. The program is funded by the California Department of Health Care Access and Information.

The other recipients are the schools of medicine at UC Davis, UC Riverside and UC San Diego. All reside in regions currently experiencing a physician shortage. Each grantee will receive $1.6 million for the first three years ($540,000 annually) with additional funding ($250,000) available in the fourth year for sustainability, according to a news release.

UCSF Fresno is the lead agency for the San Joaquin Valley Regional Hub of Healthcare Opportunity, which launches July 1, creating the first pre-medical diversity pathway from community college to primary care physician program in the San Joaquin Valley.

In addition to UCSF Fresno, partners in the new San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program (SJV-CMSP) include:

California Health Sciences University

Fresno State

State Center Community College District (Fresno City College, Clovis Community College, Madera/Oakhurst Community College, Reedley Community College)

College of the Sequoias (Hanford, Tulare and Visalia campuses)

Merced Community College District (Merced and Los Banos campuses)

West Hills Community College District (Coalinga, Firebaugh and Lemoore campuses)

Yosemite Community College District (Columbia College and Modesto Junior College)

California Area Health Education Center Program

Central Valley Health Network, and 

Valley Health Team Family Residency Medicine Program

“The vision of the SJV-CMSP is to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority physicians through a collaborative partnership effort. This program fulfills a need in the pathway to practicing physician at the community college level,” said Kenny Banh, MD, assistant dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at UCSF Fresno. “The mission specifically is to increase the number of regional community college students who transfer to and are accepted into medical schools from California State University, Fresno.”     

Students applying to the SJV-CMSP must be on track to complete at least 24 credits at their community college, plan on applying to Fresno State the following academic year, come from an economically or educationally disadvantaged background; have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher (transcripts must be submitted); provide a personal statement and letter of recommendation as well as take part in a personal interview and demonstrate a commitment to participate in SJV-CMSP activities to pursue a career as a physician. 

The selection process into SJV-CMSP will be completed by a local committee.  Selected students will be provided with academic support through advising from the identified pre-health college advisors at all partner colleges, starting with the community college and then transitioning to advising by Fresno State faculty as well as other enrichment opportunities such as conferences, academic skills workshops, medical school application workshops, mentoring and clinical experiences with a special focus on facilitating student matriculation and preparedness for medical school.  

To better coordinate and increase the success of existing pathway programs, SJV-CMSP and future programs, Associate Dean Michael Peterson and Assistant Dean Banh announced that UCSF Fresno is creating an Office of Health Career Pathways within the Department of Undergraduate Medical Education. Emy Lopez Phillips, EdD, has been appointed as the inaugural Director. Dr. Lopez Phillips will oversee the SJV-CMSP and provide administrative oversight to all UCSF Fresno pathway programs. Her responsibilities will include budget development, fiscal management, coordination of student volunteer experiences, representing UCSF Fresno to community-based organizations and educational institutions and districts to support health and medical educational career opportunities for students. 

“I am honored to build upon the success of existing programs and launch new ones like the San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program that will expand access to careers in health and medicine for community college students,” said Dr. Lopez Phillips. “The young people in our Valley are full of hope and resilience. Many have a strong desire to give back to their communities and break the cycle of poverty within their families. This is an exciting time as we at UCSF Fresno along with our partners have an opportunity to help lift and mentor the next generation.”

For more more details about the California Medicine Scholars Program, visit https://california-medicine.org/scholars-program/ 

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